Runners reach high for kids’ disabilities

2015-11-17 06:00
 Andrea Nettel (right) and Lee-Ann Dawson will be running to the height of 14 000m over 14 consecutive day to raise funds for children with disabilities, such as Nettel’s son Alex Boettger (left).

Andrea Nettel (right) and Lee-Ann Dawson will be running to the height of 14 000m over 14 consecutive day to raise funds for children with disabilities, such as Nettel’s son Alex Boettger (left).

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Two South Peninsula women are tying their takkies and taking on Table Mountain for a good cause.

Andrea Nettel and Lee-Ann Dawson, dubbed Team No Breaks, will be running to the height of 14 000m over 14 consecutive days.

The team is fundraising for Nettel’s 14-year-old son, who is permanently in a wheelchair due to congenital muscular dystrophy. Alex Boettger loves rugby and cricket and his dream is to become a cricket statistician or a sports commentator.

The project was inspired four years ago when Andrea was running in the mountains with friends and expressing her wish to share the beauty of the Cape Peninsula fynbos with Alex.

Her friends encouraged her to do that and she became determined to not allow Alex’s disability to prevent him from experiencing things.

The mother and son have since completed two half-marathons, the Peninsula Marathon and the Two Oceans Marathon.

“We were doing these events mainly for ourselves and to allow Alex the experience of it. But we also made use of them to raise funds to provide adequately for Alex’s needs,” she says.

“We have come to realise that it is very unusual, despite the legislation in SA, for children to be accepted at mainstream schools. And if they are accepted they are expected to make do as best as they can.”

This year Andrea felt driven to expand the fundraising to other families with similar challenges.

“I would like my experiences and our efforts to benefit other kids who are struggling to get a good education because of their disability. Lee-Ann came up with the idea to highlight the challenges of families with disabilities by challenging ourselves and ‘Up 14Ks in 14 days’ was born,” she says.

The number was inspired by Alex’s age.

“Although Lee-Ann works in the sports industry this was altogether a new challenge for her. I hadn’t run since the beginning of the year and needed to start all over again,” she says.

Andrea hopes the run will break the stereotype around disability.

“Not everyone in a wheelchair is paralysed. Disability is not always visible. Disability does not equal limited possibilities. We would like people to talk about disability without taboo, shame or pity. Ask questions and feel comfortable in the presence of disability,” she says.

The runs will take place in the Table Mountain and South Peninsula area between Sunday 29 November and Saturday 12 December.

V For more information visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/up-14000-k-s-in-14days or the teamnobreaks page on Facebook.

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